Categorized | Mike's Column, Opinion

Mike’s Rant — Consider yourself slapped, Grimsby!

I am going to reach out – please picture this, good reader – and collectively slap every resident of Grimsby right now.

Did you feel it?

I certainly hope so because you people need to wake the heck up before you find a big “closed due to bankruptcy” sign on Grimsby town hall.

Yes, on that point I exaggerate, because everyone knows there is boat loads of cash in Grimsby, both at town hall and in the taxpayers’ pockets, right?

Nobody really cares if millions of dollars get frittered away over and over and over again. Do you?
Must not, ’cause in the last several years we’ve seen a brutal pattern of projects gone horribly awry, vastly over budget, and unneeded expenses pushed through a council that seem dormant at best.

Somewhere along the line every member of Grimsby council (except one) drank some rancid Kool-Aid and turned into those chanting zombies like you see in Indiana Jones Temple of Doom….the council chambers is a temple of doom, alright.

The Niagara Power, Grimsby Power, Holdco2 disaster is just one symptom of a systemic disease which has permeated the core of the Town’s governance.
Make no mistake, this is all about council. Mayor Bob Bentley is driving the bus. That bus seems headed straight over the edge of the escarpment but all the aldermen sit mindlessly in their seats just playing with their ipads (figuratively speaking) oblivious to what is happening around them.

Time and time again over the last two years this space has been used to explain to residents how bad things are, how ridiculous the pseudo-governance is that is used to manage the town’s affairs and the electrical utility — it’s largest asset by far.

Major items have been shuffled about, stuffed into in camera sessions or pulled from one meeting, jammed into another, or brought back from the dead on a few minutes notice giving anyone who did care ZERO time to react or comment. That whole Holdco2 was something to behold people.

If the problems that little shift in governance created was not so fundamentally important it was downright humourous to see the lengths to which an elected body would go to ensure its dirty laundry never sees the light of day.

The fact Paul Dube of the Ontario Ombudsman’s office released a 12-page report which – and I am simplifying – states Grimsby council was completely wrong to go into closed session back in May to discuss Ald. Dave Kadwell’s notice of motion to get a valuation done for Niagara Power Inc. is third party confirmation.

As was stated on this page at the time, there was no reason to hide behind closed doors to talk about getting a valuation done. There were no names in the mix. There was no litigation or threat of same. There was no land involved. But there was a pressing need to get some homework done and nobody wanted to step up and admit it.

Except Ald. Kadwell, of course.

In the last election, Mayor Bob talked about honesty and transparency. Uhh, hello…that dream is long gone people.

In September, Ald. Steve Berry wrote a letter which stated, among other things, “Finally, council has not hidden anything from anyone.”

Wrong!

This instance was found to be wholly inappropriate and there have been others with great similarity. On one hand it is hard to chastise taxpayers as a whole for not getting up in arms on such a serious and expensive topic for which much of the detail and conduct has been sealed behind closed doors, but I’m here to tell ya, people, wake up!

You should all be beating a path to the council chamber meeting next Monday and ask your elected representative just what they are doing? Why don’t they bring hydro information out into the open?

I rail on this biodigester junk because I cling to the hope taxpayers will at least ask questions. Remember that thing started with a budget of $3.5 million and was supposed to get government subsidy. My best guess is $6.5-$7 million for start-up when is all is said and done. And that’s before we see if it works…even a little.

The complete ombudsman report can be found on our website:
newsnowniagara.com

Read it. Educate yourself.

Find out what is happening. I implore you. I don’t want to have to slap you again!

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